3 Ways to Skirt the Whole Truth but Still Not Lie to Kids

by | Jan 16, 2009 | Late Breaking News

The debate on how to talk to kids about touchy subjects is a hot one. Here is a comment I just received:

Hi Dr Borba:

I`m not a parent but I have this 4 year old nephew who`s really angry all the time and his parents are always complaining about his behavior. To me it`s simple. They`re just not honest enough with him. I find that if I`m totally honest with him, he is very understanding and cooperative. More than adults.

I totally agree with: “But keeping kids in the dark about something so serious as a
job layoff is a huge mistake.”



 We’re definitely on the same page. Too often I think we underrate our children.  The trick is to tailor our responses to what our kids can handle at the time. There are other responses instead of “covering up” or “lying outright.”

1. You can always “Take the fifth.” Feel free to tell your child you’re not comfortable saying how much money you lost in the stockmarket or your salary. 

2. Postpone. If there is a particular subject you don’t know how to answer, then just say you need some time to think about it. You can always answer your child later. 

3. Tell part–not all. You can explain part of the reason you were let go, but not the whole reason. You can divulge part of your background or problem, but not all of it.

Honesty really is the best policy. Once our kids catch us in the “lie” we lose their trust. And there is nothing more critical. 

Thank you for your comment!